ASY­LUM SEEKER NURSE AT­TACK EX­CLU­SIVE

Grope case as key vote looms

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Front Page - ANNA CALDWELL

AN Afghan asy­lum seeker al­legedly sex­u­ally touched and then threat­ened to fur­ther as­sault two nurses at a Syd­ney hos­pi­tal af­ter he was trans­ferred there from Nauru.

The Daily Tele­graph can re­veal the de­tails of the case as fed­eral par­lia­ment pre­pares for a show­down this week over a La­bor-backed push by Went­worth MP Ker­ryn Phelps to make it eas­ier for asy­lum seek­ers to get med­i­cal treat­ment in Aus­tralia.

The 38-year-old man, who ar­rived in Aus­tralia via Christ­mas Is­land in 2013 dur­ing an in­flux of asy­lum seek­ers un­der Kevin Rudd, has been charged over al­legedly grab­bing two nurses on the but­tocks as he un­der­went treat­ment at Royal North Shore Hos­pi­tal last month.

He is al­leged to have then threat­ened to as­sault the nurses when he learned they had made a com­plaint.

It comes as Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son pre­pares to give an ad­dress to­day on ex­ter­nal and do­mes­tic threats, in­clud­ing to our bor­ders.

AN Afghan asy­lum seeker will face a Syd­ney court this week af­ter al­legedly as­sault­ing two nurses at Royal North Shore Hos­pi­tal when he was trans­ferred from Nauru for med­i­cal treat­ment last month.

The Daily Tele­graph can re­veal the de­tails of the case as fed­eral par­lia­ment pre­pares for a show­down this week over a La­bor-backed push to make it eas­ier for asy­lum seek­ers to get med­i­cal treat­ment in Aus­tralia.

The 38-year-old man, who ar­rived in Aus­tralia via Christ­mas Is­land in 2013 dur­ing an in­flux of asy­lum seek­ers un­der Kevin Rudd, has been charged over al­legedly grab­bing two nurses on the but­tocks as he un­der­went treat­ment.

He is also al­leged to have threat­ened the nurses when he learned of their com­plaint.

It comes as Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son pre­pares to give a na­tional ad­dress to­day on his plan to “keep Aus­tralians safe and se­cure”, tack­ling a se­ries of ex­ter­nal and do­mes­tic threats, in­clud­ing to our bor­ders. He will use the speech to pitch him­self as the best man­ager of Aus­tralia’s se­cu­rity in­ter­ests and econ­omy at a time when the na­tion is at risk of global fi­nan­cial head­winds, ter­ror­ism, border threats and crime con­cerns.

The asy­lum seeker at the cen­tre of the Royal North Shore case was trans­ferred to Aus­tralia for med­i­cal treat­ment on Jan­uary 4 and placed at the St Leonards hos­pi­tal. The as­sault is al­leged to have taken place just over a week af­ter his ar­rival.

When the nurses he tar­geted re­ported the in­ci­dent to Serco guards and the asy­lum seeker was told of their com­plaint, he al­legedly threat­ened to as­sault both of the nurses. Po­lice were called and the man was ar­rested and charged with com­mon as­sault, sex­u­ally touch­ing a per­son with­out con­sent and stalk­ing or in­tim­i­dat­ing with in­tent to cause fear or harm.

The man was granted bail and trans­ferred to Villa­wood de­ten­tion cen­tre where he re­mains be­fore his court ap­pear­ance this week.

The case will serve as a light­ning rod when par­lia­ment re­sumes this week, af­ter the gov­ern­ment tries to stop Went­worth MP Dr Ker­ryn Phelps from get­ting her medi­vac bill through the lower house.

Pres­sure is mount­ing on Bill Shorten to re­con­sider his sup­port for the bill ahead of a se­cu­rity brief­ing to­day. Op­po­si­tion im­mi­gra­tion spokesman Shayne Neu­mann sig­nalled yes­ter­day La­bor wanted the bill to give the min­is­ter the fi­nal say over trans­fers.

The bill as it stands would al­low asy­lum seek­ers trans­ferred to Aus­tralia on the ad­vice to two doc­tors — a move which gov­ern­ment le­gal ad­vice has warned would se­verely un­der­mine the na­tion’s bor­ders.

The Daily Tele­graph first re­vealed last year that the gov­ern­ment had ad­vice the plan would make it eas­ier for asy­lum seek­ers of ques­tion­able char­ac­ter or crim­i­nal back­grounds to get into the coun­try.

The bill could pass the lower house this week with the sup­port of La­bor and the cross­bench in what would be a huge blow for the gov­ern­ment.

When Mr Mor­ri­son ad­dresses the Na­tional Press Club to­day, he will high­light the threats to Aus­tralia and specif­i­cally ad­dress Oper­a­tion Sov­er­eign Bor­ders. He will say “as the ar­chi­tect, I know what com­pro­mise and poorly thought through change can do to this pol­icy.”

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